As the old saying goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of year.” No matter how you and your family celebrate the holidays, the season is likely chock full of fun activities. But amidst all the smiles and laughter, a few dangers lurk. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that the weeks from November to January are among the busiest for emergency departments and urgent cares.
This holiday season, keep your family safe, healthy and happy — and outside emergency room doors — with these tips for avoiding some of the most common holiday mishaps.
Be Careful When Decorating
Decorating both inside and outside your house can present certain dangers unless you take the proper precautions. Unsteady ladders or stepladders cause thousands of people to fall each year while decorating their homes and Christmas trees. And lifting heavy items high above your head can also strain muscles, causing pain.
This year when you decorate, follow these tips:
- Ask for help lifting heavy objects
- Always keep one hand on the ladder
- Ensure ladders are steady and locked open
- Keep your body within the borders of the ladder
- Never stand above the second highest rung
Concentrate on Cooking
The kitchen is another common spot of both holiday illnesses and injuries. Knives can cause cuts, hot pans can cause burns, and unsafe practices can lead to the spread of bacteria. And, you’re at greater risk the more hurried you feel when preparing holiday dishes.
This year to safeguard you, your kitchen and your loved ones, you might try:
- Asking others to pitch in
- Having plenty of oven mitts ready
- Keeping the kitchen clear and clean
- Planning your meal (and for any holiday parties) in advance
- Separating cooked and uncooked ingredients
- Sharpening your knives before use
- Washing your utensils, surfaces and hands after touching raw meat
Don’t Forget Your Health
It’s easy to get caught up in the holidays and forget your normal routine, but for people with chronic conditions, this can spell trouble. Always be sure to pack your medication for trips — if you do forget it, call your physician so they can send a prescription to a pharmacy near you.
Don’t forget to take your medication either. If necessary, set alarms to take pills, check blood sugars, talk a walk, or just check in on how you feel.
Think Before You Eat
You should also be careful of what you eat. Overeating and drinking can lead to many health issues, from acid reflux to heart attacks. Stay safe by:
- Balance your plate, eating half fruits or vegetables and half of other foods like carbohydrates and meats
- Eating slowly and only in small portions
- Limit your alcohol intake
- When drinking, have a designated driver at-the-ready
Unwrap With Care
Finally, even unwrapping presents can present a risk of cuts and lacerations, especially presents that are in thick plastic. When using knives, box cutters or scissors, always be careful as you cut objects open. Also be sure to stow sharp objects away when they aren’t in use so they don’t get lost in the wrapping paper and aren’t in a child’s reach.
Have a Holiday Health Plan
Even the best laid health and safety plans can go awry. That’s why it’s important you know the nearest emergency department or urgent care to your home just in case.
At AdventHealth, our Emergency and Urgent Care services provide convenient care for all levels of holiday emergencies. Our caring staff will work to get you back home quickly so you can keep enjoying your celebrations. Find the emergency department or urgent care nearest you.